264 posts tagged with electrical.
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How big a problem is a (relatively) high home voltage?

I have recently bought a flat (yay!). I had an electrician in today to look at some broken appliances (the hob, fridge and bathroom fan), and while checking things out he noticed that the voltage of the power in the house was unusually high (248-250V), possibly because I'm close to the transformer, and he confirmed that this could shorten the life of electrical devices. He mentioned that you can now buy a gadget to add to your electrics to step down the voltage to a more normal level, like ~220V. Is it true that a high-ish voltage can cause problems, and does anyone have any experience of the voltage-fixer he mentioned? I'm in the UK.
posted by Urtylug on Jun 9, 2015 - 11 answers

(preferably print-outable) resources for a budding electrical technician

So I managed to get myself a job in a busy factory as an electrically biased maintanance man and need resources to help me become more up to scratch with what im dealing with. [more inside]
posted by aqueousdan on May 22, 2015 - 2 answers

Why is this device shorting out my power?

Why would using an American electrical device on European voltage cause it to short out circuits at home when I plug it in again after coming home to the US? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 18, 2015 - 8 answers

Home Wiring (please don't kill me)

Hanging a new pendant light fixture, simple, but can you help explain this wiring? [more inside]
posted by artdrectr on Apr 27, 2015 - 5 answers

Electrical gremlins or real car problems?

My car (2012 BMW 328i xDrive Wagon E91 LCI) has two quirks: 1) battery warning after turning off the car, even after extended drives (never BEFORE starting the car) 2) brake wear warning after car has been parked in the cold for several hours (disappears after warming car up) [more inside]
posted by wutangclan on Apr 22, 2015 - 3 answers

Lights in my condo flickering. Put on any load and they really take off.

I came in tonight and lights are flickering, as is the orange light in the surge protector that the printer/puter/tv is plugged in to. When I put it under a load at all IE if I print something, the lights *really* flicker. What is this about? [more inside]
posted by dancestoblue on Mar 29, 2015 - 9 answers

Gas oven control panel fried?

Is the control panel on my gas oven really completely fried after switching the breaker on and off? How can I prevent this in the future? [more inside]
posted by miyabo on Feb 28, 2015 - 3 answers

Are CFL and LED lights safe for indoors (in flush mounts)?

I am getting conflicting opinions on when you can (and can’t use) CFL and LED lights indoors, especially with a flush mount light fixture. I am more confused now that ever. If someone can offer some insight, it would be great. [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Feb 5, 2015 - 13 answers

Remedial electronic engineering filter: how does USB charging work?

I'm trying to set up several micro USB charging stations in my house and car, and I'm realizing that I retain very little from 9th-grade Intro To Electronics. Set me straight on how current works? [more inside]
posted by foursentences on Jan 28, 2015 - 7 answers

What job should a sound and electrical component lover have?

My husband is 28, has a Masters in Sound Engineering, and is trying to figure out what the next steps in his career are. Does he stay in music or move to something else that can put his skills working with electrical components to use? details inside. [more inside]
posted by andreapandrea on Jan 18, 2015 - 17 answers

MacBook charger cord casing repair

The rubbery casing on my MacBook's charger just split after 6 months of use. I bought this one after the same thing happened to my last one. It's not splitting in the high strain zone near the body of the adapter, but part way down the cord. What's the best way to prevent the cord from splitting further? I've tried electrical tape previously, but it doesn't hold up well and leaves a lot of goopy adhesive behind. Thanks!
posted by waninggibbon on Jan 16, 2015 - 15 answers

Lights out: Why did my overhead lights all fail at the same time?

Does anyone know anything about electricity? Here's the situation. About a week ago, the overhead lights in my dining room and living room went out simultaneously -- we saw it happen. There is another light (kitchen overhead) on that circuit that is now out as well. I think it was turned off at the time, so we only noticed it later, but I am guessing it went out at the same time as the others. [more inside]
posted by TonyRobots on Jan 14, 2015 - 18 answers

How to wire a dimmer on a 3-way switch?

Need help wiring a dimmer on a 3-way switch circuit. [more inside]
posted by Mid on Dec 21, 2014 - 13 answers

Why would moving a car stereo break the aircon?

My wife removed the stereo from our 2006 Renault Scenic to extract a coin that had been stuffed in the CD slot by one of our lovely children. This wasn't the first time she'd done this, and there haven't been any problems in the past. However, upon returning the unit this time, the dash controls for the stereo were found not to work, only those on the steering column. She removed the unit again, checked the fuses, replaced the unit - and now the bloody air conditioner is dead. [more inside]
posted by obiwanwasabi on Dec 14, 2014 - 5 answers

DIY: Old ceiling light, no ground -- what's the worst that can happen?

I replaced a ceiling light in a 1950's-wired apartment. There are insulated black and neutral wires, but no ground connection (fixture has ground wire but just connected it to mounting bar). If wired backwards, what happens when I flip the switch? When I touch the fixture while power and/or switch are on? [more inside]
posted by ArgyleGargoyle on Oct 21, 2014 - 10 answers

Car's power window won't roll up - bad switch or larger problem?

One of the power windows in my car has stopped rolling up. The windows are controlled by a dual switch in the center console. The driver's side works, and the passenger "down" works, but the passenger "up" switch does not. I tried replacing it with a new switch I ordered online, and was able to get the window 90% up, but then that new switch abruptly stopped working. Is this likely to be a case of a bad part, or is there something wrong with my electrical system? More details below. [more inside]
posted by chrisamiller on Oct 13, 2014 - 5 answers

Moving an electrical switch about 3 inches up

So, my apartment complex installed a new exhaust fan in our unit. This is great! it's powerful and will be an excellent addition to the kitchen! However, they inconveniently placed the switch for the fan about 2 inches too low for comfort (pictures inside). When the oven is pushed in the switch gets covered up. Is this the sort of thing I can move myself? Or is this the sort of thing I should pay an electrician for? How much? (And for the sake of argument, let's assume my apartment complex is fine with me doing this.) [more inside]
posted by beep-bop-robot on Oct 10, 2014 - 17 answers

Grownup Tinkertoys

I'm toying with the idea of DIYing a version of this ceiling lamp. Can anyone tell me the technical name for the pivoting/rotating/swiveling T joints, as Googling combinations of that phrase is not giving me similar connectors? [more inside]
posted by romakimmy on Aug 25, 2014 - 2 answers

Can I Get My Furnace Fan to Function Independently of Heating/Cooling?

We have this furnace. In the summer it would be nice if we could run only the fan (We don't have central air), but according to the manual, Fan Only Mode requires the R and G thermostat contacts be wired. As you can see, only the RC/RH and W contacts are wired. Would simply swapping the orange wire from RC/RH to RH/G create the circuit needed for sweet, sweet fan action, or will it be necessary to run a new wire from G to the control board in the furnace, therefore requiring professional help? [more inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Aug 8, 2014 - 4 answers

What is this strange box/connector thing I found in my basement?

While snooping around my basement today I found a strange little box/connector of some sort that I have no idea what it is. It looks really old (the house is ~90 years old) and isn't currently connected to anything. It seems to correspond to the incoming phone line from the outside box, but I could be mistaken. Can anyone tell me what exactly this is? [img inside] [more inside]
posted by _DB_ on Aug 1, 2014 - 4 answers

No one will pay for wheelchair repair, even with Medicaid... now what?

YANM medical billing professional, but I need help in getting my very expensive, recently-out-of-warranty electric wheelchair fixed. I live in NY, have (crappy) private insurance ( Oxford Liberty) through my mother's job and Medicaid due to a cerebral palsy diagnosis. My chair ( an Invacare model) was provided through my previous insurance and OL isn't accepted by the contractor that provided it. They take Medicaid, but refuse to put in a claim and keep passing the buck. I can't leave my house. What do I do? [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Jul 16, 2014 - 17 answers

Dehumidifier with short: fix or dispose of? If so, how?

I have a Frigidaire dehumidifier with a short (when I plug it in, it trips the fuse on any house circuit I try). Should I try to fix it, or is it likely to be unobvious? I'm not particularly handy, but I don't mind taking something apart. Is it safer/better to simply dispose of it? If so, is it recyclable?
posted by idb on Jul 3, 2014 - 5 answers

Is this electrical feature dangerous?

When I'm sitting in the room with the breaker box to my house, I hear a series of short buzzes, like "bzzzt." The noise seems to be coming from the breaker box, and I notice that a faceplate to one of the switches is missing (breakers were last switched off a month or two ago, when new heat pump was installed.). Here is (or should be) the image (if not, there's just copper surface where the breaker faceplate should be):
posted by mmiddle on Jun 20, 2014 - 11 answers

Help with circuit building, please!

I'm interested in adapting this tutorial and this tutorial into a dress design. Basically, I want to keep the accelerometer as part of the design, but have lower profile lights and reduce the number of lines to two or three, somehow... I could solder two extra beads (right?) on but it would look better with just two or three beads/lines. What can I do? The accelerometer isn't super-required since I can just program sparkles, so losing that isn't completely off the table. [more inside]
posted by ancient star on Jun 11, 2014 - 6 answers

How Do I Find a Job? Computer Engineering/Low GPA Edition

I have a BS in Computer Engineering, albeit with a low GPA and no internships or experience. How do I get a job? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 30, 2014 - 17 answers

Visual doorbell in a rental home

What is the easiest, cheapest, least intrusive way to have a light go on in my basement when someone pushes a button at my front door? [more inside]
posted by ltisz on May 24, 2014 - 3 answers

A circuit breaker switch won't turn back on. Do I call an electrician?

One of our circuit breakers tripped, and it won't return to its "on" position. I push it toward "on," but it doesn't stay, just returns to a middle position between on and off. It serves only a single hallway in the home, and nothing is plugged in there. Does the breaker need to be replaced? Should I call an electrician?
posted by jackypaper on Apr 29, 2014 - 17 answers

What motivates electric companies to repair the power lines?

I don't really understand the utility industry very much but I've noticed some electric companies are very responsive to getting lines up from damage and have crews out at 2 a.m., and others don't even start work until the next day. What motivates them? Is it primarily loss of earnings from all the meters not running? Are there regulatory performance expectations? Or is there some sort of precedent in litigation that would put them at fault for underperforming? [more inside]
posted by crapmatic on Mar 28, 2014 - 8 answers

Fun experiments with an electronics kit for a 7 year old

I would love some suggestions for science experiments with the Cambridge BrainBox electronics kit. [more inside]
posted by snarfois on Mar 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Buying a new (old) house. It has a fuse box. Questions inside.

I'm in the due diligence period of buying a house built in 1964. It's in Atlanta. The inspection yesterday went well, but the house has a fuse box and a breaker panel (the breaker handles AC and washer/dryer only). I know absolutely nothing about electric/wiring issues or systems. [more inside]
posted by arm426 on Mar 6, 2014 - 32 answers

You are not my electrician.

I need some help figuring out the wiring in my switched ceiling junction box in order to connect a basic light fixture. In the box I have three pairs of black/white wires and one yellow wire. My fixture has one pair of black and white wires. [more inside]
posted by stopgap on Jan 31, 2014 - 10 answers

Need help with a home electrical wiring problem.

I am attempting to add one electrical outlet to my attic wiring. After installation there is enough power to the outlet to set-off a wire tester but not enough power to run anything plugged into the outlet. If there are any electricians or experienced DIY'ers around who could take a look at the wiring diagrams I made and see if anything is obviously wrong it would be much appreciated. Or, if you know of any forums where I could post the diagrams for help that would be good too. [more inside]
posted by pixlboi on Jan 1, 2014 - 15 answers

Monorail track lighting troubleshooting

My monorail track lighting stopped working. All of the lamps work if I push a little on one of the lampshades (making better contact with the track or something?) but only for as long as I'm pushing. I have already tried removing all the lamps from the railing, cleaning the railing and the contacts of the lamps, and making sure they are all screwed on as tightly as possible, as well as making sure the thingees that hold up the track are all screwed in as tightly as possible also. What should I be trying next? Thank you!
posted by karbonokapi on Dec 5, 2013 - 3 answers

Transformer in basement ceiling buzzing--what is it?

I heard this weird buzzing sound coming from my basement today, and I eventually opened up the ceiling and traced it to this transformer or something that's up in there. I tapped it with a piece of non-conductive material and it stopped buzzing. Tapped it again, it started buzzing more quietly, and then I tapped it again and it was silent. Anyone have any idea what this is, and why it's there? The house is from 1952 and doesn't have any electrical issues that I know of. Pictures: Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
posted by Slinga on Oct 23, 2013 - 7 answers

Replacing a ceiling light fixture, what is up with these wires?

We had planned to replacing an old ceiling light fixture (70's?) in our 1927 home, and after carefully taking down the old light, have uncovered this mess. We'll be calling our electrician on Monday, but in the meantime, can someone explain what we're looking at? [more inside]
posted by sarahmelah on Sep 28, 2013 - 7 answers

Voltage drop, amperage increase?

We had an electrical incident where I work a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around it. Our house engineers have maintained systems at 150 amps on legs with 200 amp fuses. The power company reported a power dip, shortly after which we blew two of the 200 amp fuses. What happened? We had a drop in available voltage, so our amperage demand shot up? [more inside]
posted by nevercalm on Jul 17, 2013 - 9 answers

Electrical Enclosure CAD software on a budget?

Looking for electrical enclosure CAD software on a budget. I would appreciate your recommendations. [more inside]
posted by nickerbocker on Jun 25, 2013 - 10 answers

Basic Multimeter Question

I have a multimeter, and a I have a hub dynamo built into my bike wheel. I want to attach the multimeter probes to the wires that power my front light, and see what, if any, power comes through those wires when I spin the wheel. What do I set on the multimeter to see that happen? PS: I know nothing about electricity.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic on Jun 20, 2013 - 19 answers

Fuse Amp Ratings

Is there a method or device that will determine the amp rating of a fuse? I know that most fuses are marked with their specific amp rating, but I really need a way to verify. These are standard 5mm and 6.3mm fuses used in consumer level audio equipment. TIA
posted by Brocktoon on May 21, 2013 - 10 answers

My Cooker Wants To Kill Me

Why is my oven crackling and sparking at the on/off switch and will it start a fire in my wall? [more inside]
posted by fruitopia on May 4, 2013 - 11 answers

Front passenger speaker and window switch broke but power lock didnt

The front passenger speaker and window control stopped working on my Ford Crown Victoria. The front passenger power lock switch is working fine. The window itself works normally and I can lower it from the driver side control panel. I had to take the whole dashboard apart earlier to replace a heater core so I unplugged a lot of wires. What did I miss when putting it back together? Where do I look?
posted by racecar on Mar 31, 2013 - 1 answer

Why did this light go off with a bang and a spark?

We had lots of wiring replaced recently, including two lamps connected to a dimmer switch; the dimmer was also replaced. Yesterday we noticed that the dimmer was now only allowing fully on or off. Today the light went off with a loud popping sound and a visible spark from one of the lamps, though both bulbs themselves work fine. What happened and how do I fix it? Is it likely just a faulty dimmer switch? Do I need to turn off the circuit (which has many other lights on it) as a precaution?
posted by parudox on Mar 25, 2013 - 8 answers

Electric smoker shorting out (?)

The electric smoker that I was so excited about last week doesn't work! After I plug it in, it runs for about 5 minutes before tripping the GFCI outlet that I had it plugged into. I did have it on a 10 foot long extension cord (no electrical outlets on my back porch). I assume this means there is a short somewhere? [more inside]
posted by rossination on Mar 16, 2013 - 9 answers

Safe storage of clothing in under-stair cupboard with fuse box

I learned today that it's dangerous to store combustibles such as clothing near the fuse box or electrical intake. I keep my off-season wardrobe under the stairs, and the electrical intake/fuse box is also under the stairs. How far away do I need to keep this stuff? What is a safe distance? Is it feasible to use compact-o-stuff vacuum bags to reduce the crowding in the understair cupboard? [more inside]
posted by tel3path on Feb 27, 2013 - 13 answers

How can I get a SAD therapy light that is visually appealing?

Most SAD therapy lights are somewhere between utilitarian and ugly in terms of design. I want one that is beautiful, such that you could actually design a room around it. I think I would probably need to have it custom made, but I don't even know what sort of person I would begin trying to talk to. Let's ignore the question of cost for the time being, where would I find a person with the requisite skills (lighting, electrical, design, etc...) to build this for me?
posted by mmmmbobo on Feb 12, 2013 - 4 answers

Need overview for a proposed audio/visual, security and computer layout

Looking for a good overview for a proposed audio/visual, security and computer layout in an urban residence. e.g. list of equipment, layout, controls, outlets, wiring, speakers. This is new, not retro-fit, the walls are open, all the wiring and controls can be neatly coordinated. Help me see this in plan; as a well-tuned clock; not a mish-mash.
posted by ebesan on Feb 5, 2013 - 5 answers

Diodes, transistors, resistors, oh my!

What are the best resources and references for a novice interested in modern electrical engineering? [more inside]
posted by clearly on Jan 26, 2013 - 13 answers

Intro to Electrical Engineering Course Online?

I'm looking for a purely online course for an introductory electrical engineering course from a legitimate certified institution for the purposes of transferring to my current institution.
posted by gzimmer on Jan 22, 2013 - 2 answers

I think there's a crossed wire...or my car is determined to die

How could changing a car's battery cause the panel lights to come on when turning the car OFF? Or is everything in my car falling to pieces coincidentally at the same time? [more inside]
posted by Eicats on Jan 4, 2013 - 13 answers

Inspiring Popular Electronics Books?

When I was learning to program I enjoyed reading popular computer science books like Godel Escher Bach in my downtime for motivation and inspiration. Can anyone suggest good popular electrical/electronics books that are similarly inspiring and are suitable to be followed along while on a train or before bed? [more inside]
posted by Joe Chip on Jan 2, 2013 - 5 answers

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